So, why is Matcha so expensive? For the uninitiated, matcha, also commonly known as matcha green tea or matcha tea, is characterised by its brilliant green colour and powdered form. The production of this tea is extensive with many opportunities to cut the corners. The cheaper the matcha tea the more corners that have been cut. Read on to find out more…
Traditionally it is prepared by whisking hot water and matcha powder until it reaches a frothy, creamy consistency. Now, thanks to the health-boosting properties that matcha boasts, many modern recipes have started to incorporate matcha in innovative ways – from boosting your smoothies to making matcha sports drinks and matcha flapjacks.
But even with its prevalence, good quality matcha does not come cheap. If it does you should ask yourself why. Here we will give you an insight into how matcha is made and what corners are cut to produce cheap matcha. You really do get what you pay for as they say!
How is Matcha Tea Produced?
To understand the expensive prices of matcha, we first need to understand the process by which matcha tea is produced.
The traditional way of producing matcha is a long and laborious one.
- It starts with picking the right soil – fertile and with a moist climate.
- After which the seeds of the tea plant – the Camellia Sinensis Sinesis are sown, and grown under bright sunlight. They take 7 years to reach full maturity!
- 6 weeks before harvesting, farmers have to cover up the plants under shade to induce higher levels of chlorophyll and amino acid production to develop that distinct umami taste profile that matcha is known for.
- At harvest, only the youngest leaves are picked, steamed, dried, and sorted for quality, nutrition, and taste. Picking only the young leaves reduces the volume harvested.
- Following which it goes through the tedious process of destemming and deveining of the dried leaves which results in Tencha.
- Last but not least, Tencha is then ground slowly with large stone mills to create the fine matcha powder we know. This process requires a lot of care, so only small quantities can be ground at any one time. For example, a small tin of 30g takes over 60 minutes to grind. Stone grinding ensures the product isn’t destroyed by heat. Thus it maintains its vibrant green colour and high nutritional values.
Why Is Matcha So Expensive?
The growing and production requirements to produce high-quality matcha tea are hugely expensive and time-consuming in themselves. Each step is essential to produce Matcha that is a smooth, sweet, and vibrant green. Matcha should be packed full of antioxidants and nutrients. If any of these corners are cut it has an immediate impact on taste, nutritional value, and colour. Creating high-quality matcha is a fine art.
Of course, there are lower quality versions of matcha out there – usually just ground green tea leaves. However, you can expect them to taste entirely different. The shading process which is not present in the harvesting of normal green tea is critical not only for the taste but also for the nutritional value of matcha tea! The other corners which are often cut from the process to reduce cost include:
- using industrial grinders which can damage the nutritional value
- failing to remove the stems as well as veins which can cause yellow/ brown coloured matcha
- storage in warm environments will cause faster degradation of the matcha tea
- growing to non-organic standards also reduces the cost of production
Is Matcha Tea Worth It?
Wondering if this expensive superfood is worth the hype?
Many of the health benefits of matcha are linked to EGCG, a powerful antioxidant present in matcha – with purported protection against heart diseases, cancers, and more. With more than 137 times more of these antioxidants found in matcha compared to normal green tea leaves.
Further to this, the shading part of the production process for Matcha Tea also increased the amount of L-Theanine in the plant. This is an amino acid that isn’t found in many foods but is purported to give the user calm and focussed effects for the task ahead.
You can’t easily get these nutrients and benefits from other foods so – yes – we think Matcha is most definitely worth the hype!
How Can I Get Cheaper but Good Quality Matcha?
Cheap and good quality usually does not go hand in hand. Ultimately with matcha (as with anything else), you get what you pay for.
While we only source for the finest quality matcha at Kineta, and hence cannot offer super cheap prices, we have an irresistible offer for avid matcha lovers!
Simply, buy in bulk (check out our 10 tins Trade Super Saver Deal) and enjoy a discount on our normal prices!
For more things about Matcha, check out our online store here for our latest Japanese green tea powder products!